FIA rally chief Yves Matton has insisted that the WRC’s big 2022 technical rule changes will not be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Other major motorsport series have put technical revamps back amid the current global crisis, with Formula 1’s planned 2021 shake-up moved to 2022 and some teams pushing for a longer delay, although this won’t happen according to Ross Brawn.
NASCAR is also putting its next-generation cars on ice even though testing ahead of their planned introduction next season has begun, while the World Rallycross Championship has pushed back its move towards electric power.
The WRC is in a slightly different position in that its changes, which include adding a hybrid power element, are scheduled for 2022 rather than 2021.
There are also concerns that the limitations in running cars and travel during 2020 will cost WRC teams test and preparation time with their 2022 machines. Matton admitted there would be some impact but does not see it as a problem for teams.
“For sure they will lose a bit of time with the coronavirus and it’s difficult to know the level of time they will lose,” added Matton. “I understand they can work on the design of the car, this is the only aspect of the job they can do on home working. And the testing the car is still the normal duration. For the moment we are still in the timeline to design, produce and test the car for the 2022 season.”
He said that teams would always ideally want more time to test new cars, but financial considerations would stop them doing so anyway.
“On the other hand it’s always part of the game for the teams and technical departments to have more time to develop the car,” Matton continued. “I can tell you, if you give them one more year to develop the car then they will be happy to design and produce the car for one more year, but I don’t think this will fit in the potential budget constraints.”